It’s official: Pat Toomey to challenge Specter again

This is great news:

Conservative Pat Toomey, a former Lehigh Valley congressman, this morning announced he is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the 2010 election.

In a videotaped message on his new campaign website (, Toomey says the nation is at a “crossroads” between a greatly expanding federal government and the direction of more economic freedom.

The move sets up a much-anticipated rematch with moderate Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) who earned a fifth term in 2004 after defeating a challenge from Toomey by about 17,000 votes out of more than 1 million cast. Their race will feature a key debate among Republicans: Did their party lose power because it stopped appealing to moderates, or because it was not true to conservative principles?

“We can stop the bailouts and the spending stampede; we can reduce the burdens on taxpayers; and we can unlock the ingenuity and job creation potential of our great nation once again,” Toomey said in his remarks. “I am running for the U.S. Senate because I believe the economic stakes for our country have never been higher. The people of Pennsylvania deserve the very best from their leaders in Washington – but that’s not what they are receiving.”

Toomey, 47, was exploring a campaign for governor until an outpouring of anger among the GOP’s conservative base greeted Specter’s critical vote for the Democrats’ economic stimulus in February. Polls showed that a majority of Republicans surveyed said it was time for someone new in the seat.

“For thirty years Senator Specter has consistently voted for increased government spending and a liberal agenda on social, labor, immigration and national security policies,” Toomey said. “In recent months, Senator Specter voted in favor of the unprecedented Wall Street and auto company bailouts and the massive “stimulus” spending bill. Senator Specter is on the wrong side of these critical issues and Pennsylvanians will pay the price.”

For Toomey to have a chance of making it beyond the primary next year, he’ll have to do it without the help of the national GOP, because they are already lining up behind Specter – as they did the last time around in a move that infuriated PA conservatives.

Toomey is a former president of the Club For Growth and served in the US House from 1999-2005. You can learn more about him here.

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